“Super motivating” was the comment of Christian, a nurse who joined the Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität (Sol, CWI Germany) during the Berlin hospital strikes, about the Socialism Days organised by the Sol on the weekend of 27 and 28 November. “Politically better than ever” commented long-time Sol member Sebastian from Kassel.
Yet the conditions for this weekend were not the best. Four days before the start of the event, due to the pandemic, we had to decide not to hold an in-person ‘Socialism Days’ as had been planned for months, but moved the event online. Despite the great disappointment that we could not meet again in person more than one and a half years after the pandemic, we managed to hold an exciting weekend with many stimulating discussions. In Dortmund and Aachen, the Sol local groups held watch parties, but most of the 180 participants on Zoom followed and participated in the debates from their sofas or desks. In addition, over 200 people watched the Facebook live stream of the two plenary sessions we held on Saturday.
They were able to watch a debate between the Sol federal spokesperson Sascha Staničić and the two co-chairs of DIE LINKE, the Left party, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Nina Eumann and Christian Leye, which focused on the reasons for DIE LINKE’s recent election disaster and the tasks for socialists in the party. The main controversy was the evaluation of DIE LINKE leader, Sahra Wagenknecht’s positions, which Christian Leye defended and Sascha Staničić sharply criticised for her anti-immigration positions and the propagation of a socially just market economy.
The recent strikes of the Berlin hospital workers and the situation in the health sector, in general, played a major role. Strike activists, Sandra Dilewski and Christian Gajewsky, reported on the Berlin hospital movement. Unfortunately, Jenniffer Lange had to cancel her participation at short notice for personal reasons. Dorit Hollasky, Sol member and ver.di trade union activist at the Dresden city hospital, stressed the need to link the struggle for a public health system equipped according to need with the general struggle against capitalism.
In many other sessions, there were lively discussions, whether about the connection between pandemic and capitalism, Marxist theory, and together with Julius van der Burg from the school student body in NRW, about the question of how young people can fight for their rights and a future worth living.
Highlights for many participants were the events with international guests from South Africa, France, England and Ireland. Among the speakers at a plenary event on Saturday evening was Carmel Gates, General Secretary of Northern Ireland’s largest trade union NIPSA, who is also a member of Militant Left, the Irish sister organisation of Sol. Weizmann Hamilton from the Marxist Workers Party in South Africa reported on the debates in the unions there about the formation of a new mass party of the working class. Leila Messaoudi and Olaf van Aken reported on the situation in France before the presidential elections next year. TU Senan, a member of the International Secretariat of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI – the international socialist organisation to which Sol is affiliated), spoke about the importance of a clear socialist programme in the struggles taking place worldwide. Angelika Teweleit from the Sol national leadership presented our programme for the current situation in Germany.
“Fighting to win”
At the end of the weekend, a closing event took place under the motto “Fighting to win”, where mainly lessons from the struggles of tenants and hospital workers were discussed. Ursel Beck and Michael Koschitzki reported on tenants’ struggles in Stuttgart and Berlin. Dorit Hollasky and Sandra Dilewski again reported on the situation in the health sector.
Finally, Helen Pattison from the Socialist Party in England and Wales pulled the threads together again and explained why the building of a revolutionary socialist force is a prerequisite for class struggles and also revolutionary movements like in Sudan to be successful in the long term.
The weekend showed that Sol is a growing and stable organisation two years after its foundation, despite all the difficulties caused by the pandemic. Many young people and activists from trade unions and movements, also from places where there are no Sol groups, so far, want to continue the discussion with us. As one visitor from Hamm put it, “It’s only a matter of time before I join.” The multiple crises and catastrophes of capitalist society, unfortunately, show that we have little time: that’s why the appeal to organise in the Sol and the Committee for a Workers’ International ran like a thread through the weekend. Write to email@example.com if you also want to join us in discussion and action.
The plenary events on “What’s next for DIE LINKE after the federal elections” and “For socialism – worldwide. The CWI introduces itself” can be viewed as videos on the Sol Facebook page.